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  • In all honesty, if you CAN make a teacher feel stupid... there is a problem.  Instead of looking to YOU for the issue, ask WHY are the teachers feeling so inadequate?  This isn't likely an issue that you can address.  In all honestly... does the dean want you to be condescending?

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  • albertgiuliano wrote:

    Most of these Faculty are 20 - 30 somethings (you know the group that the Administration says "they are great with the technology because the grew up with it") more like these are the children of the people who couldn't program the clock on the VCR in the 80's - 90's.

    Actually that's what I've found to be the worst group - no age group still in the workforce is less technically capable.  They grew up with digital toys, but more abstractions.  This is the first group for whom programming and understanding computers was REMOVED from schools.  So this is the group you expect to struggle the most.
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  • My wife is laughing about how bad this problem is.  Here is how we distilled it...

    • The teachers are not capable of doing their jobs and need hand holding in embarrassing ways.
    • The teachers are not just technically inept, but also emotionally immature to a point that they need other people to pretend not to be competent at their own jobs in the hopes that it doesn't expose their own lack of skills and knowledge.
    • The teachers are not even capable of being good students, making them the least capable teachers.

    If the dean thinks the teachers are embarrassed now, wait until students figure out that they are crybabies that act like little kids and cry when actual children realize they are unable to do their jobs.

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  • OK. I was a teacher and can appreciate the situation from both view points.

    The teachers may be competent on their phones and with a PC but that does not make them experts. They are good at what they do and you are good at what you do. Teaching can be a stressful occupation. And when the tech goes wrong and there are 30 kids watching you as your lesson plan crumbles into dust it is not much fun. I have been there. You have to very quickly re-plan the lesson and give the kids something to do that usefully occupies them. I can imagine that many teachers will easily go into panic mode and so when you arrive and cure the problem very easily they feel inadequate. 

    I expect that the Dean picked up on a random comment and it is a "mountain out of a molehill situation" and his words to you are upsetting. You are just doing your job and doing nothing wrong. Appreciating the other guys situation and responding appropriately may help alleviate the situation. I know that it sounds condescending but can you help them? Even if it is not true a comment like, "These connectors are often doing this" or any other soothing words can help. I suppose it is like a Doctors bedside manner.   

    The problem that you have now is that there needs to be some positive action to get everyone working together for each other and in a way that breaks down the "them and us" situation (tribal politics). Why not be the better man and offer to run a Teaching Technology series of talks. On a training day you could take some of the teachers (especially the not very confident ones) aside and show them the servers and any other items you can think of and explain how it all works. Offer to focus on some issues that they find puzzling. Make them feel beholding to you in a friendly way.

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  • This was discussed in our last SpiceCorps, basically we have a large demographic of IT in Education (Which is good) and they do a good job. As any other IT jobs in other industries when the issue is easily resolvable the users feel as if they could have done it as it was easy. From the point of view of an IT person it is easy because they are used to it and know the troubleshooting process of devices, while the teach is feeling the stress of the class and the kids watching (This would have to any IT if we were doing bare metal recovery of an entire datacenter if the CEO and president of the company plus 20 IT Managers looking at you). 

    In any event I wouldn't take it too personally the make them feel "Stupid" mainly other industries users will say the same. Try not to be condescending, I usually give them a compliment or try to make them feel as if it is not their fault and try to see the bright side of things. There are other users that you cannot convince them no matter how nice you are and others that will tag you as negative no matter what. 

    In the End I just make tutorials for my users when an issue keeps happening that is a user error, that way everyone learns. 

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  • In explaining the "fix" (assuming it's something they will encounter again), I try to create a teaching environment analogy that they can relate to. Often that helps the comprehension/understanding if you can hook into their experience - they deal with people who don't understand concepts all day long.

    For the ones that you have to turn the same device on time after time ... write up the procedure. In the heat of battle, the response is to get back to the task at hand (teaching) and their focus at the time is NOT on retaining the information presented. Pilots have checklists - because even though they've landed an airplane a thousand times, distraction equals disaster. Write it up once - or do it for them every Thursday - your call. If you write it up, and they still have issues - "Where's your checklist?" click, click - it works. Then they trust the list and problem solved - or you find that your list has issues and you modify it.

    When I put new tech out there, I try to have a short workshop (with a PowerPoint that I keep on a network share so they can go back to it) so they get to kick the tires in a low-no stress environment. I also try to spend a bit more time with the "early adopters" so that they can mentor the others. The "less talented" tech-wise are not as intimidated asking questions of other teachers.

    The approach I take is "the only stupid question is the one you don't ask" - and while I have an internal eye-roll every so often, I consider it my job to elevate them. The more they know, the less I have to do. There are some you'll never fix, but try to make progress on it every day.

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  • " Why not be the better man and offer to run a Teaching Technology series of talks. On a training day you could take some of the teachers (especially the not very confident ones) aside and show them the servers and any other items you can think of and explain how it all works"
    Yea, I have told this to Administration numerous time but they nod agree and their it dies. So at this point I just trudge forward to "fix the internet"

    " Try not to be condescending, I usually give them a compliment or try to make them feel as if it is not their fault and try to see the bright side of things. There are other users that you cannot convince them no matter how nice you are and others that will tag you as negative no matter what."
    Well like I said, I say little or nothing as I'm trying not to put the focus on me, like when they say "I swear it didn't work a minute ago" or "I just did that", I just smile (not smirk) and say I believe you, its no big deal and I guess it was a glitch.
    I have tried to explain problems nicely and have been a occasion told, I don't care what the problem us just fix it..... 
     
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  • I fix things fast, that is why an employer took me on, because of skill. That skill should absolutely embarrass a 20-something teacher.

    Even if I am told that I make someone feel stupid based on my ability, not a condescending attitude, I will immediately purge that conversation from my memory. I will not hinder my abilities based on someone's self-conscious, learn-nothing attitude.

    Stupid people feeling stupid? Not such a bad thing, maybe they'll actually take action instead of just bitching about how stupid they are.

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  • Scott Alan Miller wrote:

    albertgiuliano wrote:

    Most of these Faculty are 20 - 30 somethings (you know the group that the Administration says "they are great with the technology because the grew up with it") more like these are the children of the people who couldn't program the clock on the VCR in the 80's - 90's.

    Actually that's what I've found to be the worst group - no age group still in the workforce is less technically capable.
    100% this.  I tell folks all the time that no one is born with inherent technical knowledge.  It has to be learned like anything else.  And I agree that everything so abstracted, there's not much of a "need" to learn why something works.
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  • We have a few staff specifically as technology "integrators". They aren't IT or have access to systems, but they get a say in what technology is being used, and can help the staff with it so some degree. Some of them, as well as technically minded teachers sometime run lunch and learns for staff. These are usually "tips and tricks" sessions for things like OneNote or Outlook, but they could easily be run for simple classroom troubleshooting tips. Here is where the interactive board's power indicator LED is. If it's off, here is where the on/off switch and the power plug is. Here is where the video cable should be plugged in, etc. 95% of classroom problems can be solved with a very basic understanding of things like this, I find.
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  • One of the great downfalls of our current education system is the way technology is handled.  If you  go into the average school, any level, the technology department is hell bent on keeping the "users" from being able to use the machines in ways that they can learn.  The ability to break a system and lean how to either fix it or how to ask for help while in school is missing.  The multiple layer put in place to "protect" users from themselves has insulated at least 2 generations from being tech savvy to being tech "users" (the derogatory term).

    Education tech needs to stop doing the same practices that put us in the position where we have "users" that know how to manipulate tech devices pretty well, but completely loose it when something goes wrong.  Their tech department overlords wanted to hide the information away like some magic tome which puts us in the situation we are in. 

    Give students and staff devices and let them break them, use it as an opportunity so how them how to fix it.  The Tech Tuesday or whatever day idea that has been around is a good opportunity for you to build bridges.  They will learn up to their comfort level and leave the rest to you, don't force them to keep blinders on.

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  • Well I'll have to respectively disagree with the "Let them break it" philosophy. That must be what my predecessor employed (a 23 year old Computer Science teacher doubling as IT) when I arrived 60 + of the 80 desktop systems were infected with viruses (including his). I find on a limited access domain the users show me plenty of examples of their ability break things or at least try...

    Their some slow days, but I'm not so board that I want to stop wild fires from spreading across the network in an "good will effort" to further the education of the teachers.

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  • I'm not going to let my place be the Wild West. There's a balance point between usability and having to fix stuff all the time. And if usability suffers a little, having broken stuff would be suffering more. They can break and fix their home computer. Mine has a date with the kid in the next class. If there's functionality that the teacher needs, they can let me know, and if it won't produce other problems I'm happy to provide.

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  • kevinhughes2 wrote:

    I'm not going to let my place be the Wild West. There's a balance point between usability and having to fix stuff all the time. And if usability suffers a little, having broken stuff would be suffering more. They can break and fix their home computer. Mine has a date with the kid in the next class. If there's functionality that the teacher needs, they can let me know, and if it won't produce other problems I'm happy to provide.

    I found in education that you always build the machine for the second kid that sits down at it, never the one sitting there now and you get that, good!  To achieve that you need to be subtle about how you secure the machines.  The machines I built where Linux based and setup so the students could do pretty much anything they wanted (they did not have the admin password though) and the machines were always set to refresh on boot.  If they boogered something, reboot, refreshed, move on!

    I was moving to a BYOD/1:1 system so they could nuke their own, not my machine!  They would come and ask how to fix it and I would tell them, never fixed personal machines for the kids.  If they had a free period I would let them sit with me and I watched and advised when needed.  They were always segregated from the system core, even in classes.  We were a GSuite school so there was nothing for them in the system core, no need to be there so they were locked out.

    For the teachers I set a policy, If it was intentional on their part, I gave them a sucky loaner with just the basics and fixed their machine "when I could get to it.  Kept one teachers laptop a week!  If it was an accident or a physical issue it hit #1 pretty quick.

    I had more cooking but each location is different, have to figure out what works best for where your at.  Just remember to build the parts for the long run and ease of maintenance and the same way it has been done for 30 years is probably not the best.

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  • Isn't that your job?Get things working asap so the teachers can do their job? Would they prefer it if you floundered around for an inordinate amount of time while the entire class twiddles their thumbs?

    Perhaps if there is a perception issue you should address - after fixing the issue, state the problem was one you commonly deal with in that model of equipment, and the cause isn't immediately obvious. Something vague like "This happens with these models, heat expansion and contraction over time pushes the plug out just enough so that it looks connected, but isn't. Had me stumped the first time I encountered it"

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  • Teachers... that's something I haven't seen in a long time. Last year in school the "programming" teacher actually told me to not come into class anymore because having to change the course material to suit me would have made it too difficult for the rest of my group.

    My last exam code I gave that year contained a critical flaw. I knew it was there and I left it there for him to find which he didn't.

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  • I've been working in education for 5+ years and I came across this issue myself early in my career. I took a step back and really analysed how I was speaking to the staff when dealing with their problems.

    I found that it was my demeanor when speaking to them that gave them the wrong impression. I didn't even realise I was doing it.

    So I changed the way I approached the situation. Rather than being short with them or just fixing the issue and walking out I decided the best way was to go into the classroom, greet them with a smile on my face, ask them to show me the problem even if I knew what it was, fix it, describe how I fixed it in order to empower them and make them feel confident in their own skills and then wish them well for the day.

    The results were astounding. I started getting "You made my day" thank you cards, chocolates, etc..

    I eventually started running professional development for teachers on how to use devices that they may not be comfortable with and it really helped to reduce the basic issues that generally fill your ticket system in a school environment.

    In the beginning it was a hard pill to swallow because naturally I didn't feel like I was the issue but I ate some humble pie and it made a world of difference.

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  • Damn!...., error 18 again!   (jk)

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  • If your issue arises from taking too short time....so maybe next time before you solve a simple issue....try asking how long have the teacher spent on troubleshooting and then try to "match" the time.

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  • It's teachers - forget it. 

    I am doing IT in a school and we have the same problem - Teachers. They have no accountability so no need to learn IT - if it doesn't lead to an exam result then teachers aren't interested - so they don't pay any attention when we try and train them (they whisper and pass notes like the worst students you can imagine), and as their inability to use technology doesn't reveal it's self in exam league tables there is never any pressure on them to try and learn. 

    So it will continue to be your fault that you have been called to a fix that you have seen hundreds of times, that you have tried to teach them dozens of times - if you happen to have troubleshot the problem in your head on the way over and can fix it in seconds to let them get on with the teaching they are supposed to be doing then occasionally you will be accused of patronising them or making them look stupid in front of the class. The times when you don't fix it instantly you will be wasting their precious teaching time and clearly not competent at your job.  

    It's not a game you can win.

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  • albertgiuliano wrote:

    "When you enter the Classroom some of the Teachers say you make them feel "Stupid". My first thought was because they are...

    [...]

    For the most part I get along with everyone and try harder to get along with the snobby Teachers



    Hmmmm.... OK, well, I used to work in a private school myself, and a public one before that, and whilst I perhaps found some of the teachers IT skills 'questionable', they weren't "stupid".

    You seem to have a bit of a pre-formed attitude towards them, as you admit you already think they are "stupid", and in some cases "snobby" - perhaps you aren't keeping your opinions to yourself as much as you think you are?

    "Communicates well at all levels" is an attribute one sees an awful lot on Curriculum Vitae. In IT, where one deals with end users, it is a very desirable attribute.

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  • I think that perhaps you are not doing yourself any favours by not talking. Your silence is being interpreted as disapproval, and that disapproval can only be because you think that they are being stupid. 

    I work in a school, and I spend as much time as I can with the other staff. I spend my lunch break in the staff room and I chat and joke with the staff. By getting to know them and them me, it cuts down on this type of misunderstanding. I work with a smile. The children all know who I am and I will be greeted by name by them when I enter a classroom. If I fix a problem quickly, one of the kids will probably comment on it, to which I will reply along the lines of "Yes, 2 minutes to fix, 20 years experience to know how to fix it!".

    As I know the staff, I know how to approach them. There is one teacher who  knows she is bad with technology and jokes about it. I can go into her classroom and say "What have you done to it now?", pointing to the computer. She knows I am joking because of the way we get on. There are others where I will blame the computer "What is it doing now?. Misbehaving again!". I may threaten the computer "If you don't start behaving yourself, I will reprogram you with a large axe!" <spot the reference?>. Gets a laugh from the kids, and the teacher is off the hook for the issue.

    I think your answer lies in more communication not less.

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  • When you get a comment like that - "Water off a ducks back" - every story has more than one perspective and the dean should have been as considerate to you as he is asking for you to be. Take a minute after the fix to try to explain what happened and why you were able to fix it so quickly (I bet most teachers will pay no attention but some might). Your ability is to do your job well, not make teachers feel good, so by all means attempt a fix for that but don't dwell on it.

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  • The most common issue teachers have is their projector isn't 'working properly'. Here we mainly go for duplicate as extend would be technical overload for some teachers, but I let the teachers know what they can do to set it back to duplicate.

    If I was making a teacher feel stupid because I can do what I'm paid to do, then I'd reverse it and tell them that I'd probably feel a little stupid if I had an issue in their area of expertise and they solved it quickly whilst making it seem easy and effortless.

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  • You seem to be doing everything correctly, but unfortunately you can't teach common sense to others. If they feel stupid despite your professional attitude then the problem lies with them.

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  • "When you enter the Classroom some of the Teachers say you make them feel "Stupid". My first thought was because they are..."

    Whatever our first thoughts, they are always the right ones, the ones you get on impulse. They are stupid. Its not the being ignorant about something, its the attitude, the not wanting to acknowledge the ignorance, the pretending they know what's going  on, scared of looking weak for not knowing - that's being stupid!

    Only people with very big balls or children have the courage to turn and say: "I don't know. Can you explain it to me?"

    The rest is just a big flock of stupid, running around not knowing anything, only busy in keeping up appearances.

    With all of this, I just wanted to say your story matches my own, word for word.

    You're not alone

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  • I've been an ICT technician in a college for 26 years and my way of dealing with this situation in the classroom is to make a joke of it.

    The best one I've come up with is to tell the teacher in a voice that the class can hear "the equipment is scared of me because I have one of these" and pull a screwdriver from my pocket. Teacher smiles, class laugh and nobody loses face.

    It has always worked for me.

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  • 2300peterw wrote:

    OK. I was a teacher and can appreciate the situation from both view points.

    The teachers may be competent on their phones and with a PC but that does not make them experts. They are good at what they do and you are good at what you do. Teaching can be a stressful occupation. 

    IT is stressful, too.  The issue here isn't teachers being bad at tech, although that is a small background problem - why do we trust people to teach kids when they lack the basic literacy we expect kids to have?  That's a major problem.  What if it wasn't "tech" but was vocabulary, spelling, spoken communications or other basic literacy skill that the teachers lacked?  Why do we excuse teachers from being at an expect high school level of literacy when we would not accept this from the students?

    But the REAL issue here is the teachers childish, immature, unprofessional reactions to other people being competent.  This is the real concern.  They want people to pretend that they aren't incompetent so that they don't feel bad.  That's ridiculous!

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  • Vladimir3464 wrote:

    "When you enter the Classroom some of the Teachers say you make them feel "Stupid". My first thought was because they are..."

    Whatever our first thoughts, they are always the right ones, the ones you get on impulse. They are stupid. Its not the being ignorant about something, its the attitude, the not wanting to acknowledge the ignorance, the pretending they know what's going  on, scared of looking weak for not knowing - that's being stupid!

    Only people with very big balls or children have the courage to turn and say: "I don't know. Can you explain it to me?"

    The rest is just a big flock of stupid, running around not knowing anything, only busy in keeping up appearances.

    With all of this, I just wanted to say your story matches my own, word for word.

    You're not alone

    I agree.  Some important thoughts here from me are.... 
    • Ask the dean... if the teacher's respond in this way how will they ever get better?  Because responding negatively to an educational challenge causes barriers to overcoming the deficiency.
    • How do the teachers not know this as their own specialty is pedagogy.  So this represents a much, much bigger issue in that the teachers are not understanding how to learn which is, we assume, the one thing that they are supposed to know!
    • How does this look to students that their teachers react negatively to a teaching moment?  How would those teachers treat children if the children reacted in the same manner and reported them to the dean or to parents or the school board for "making the students feel stupid" by attempting to teach them things or give them tests?  
    • This would lead me to a very real concern that the teachers don't feel that they are as smart or as educated as many of their students and don't want this exposed.
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  • I try and turn it around when this happens (and it happens all the time). Go into a class because the audio isn't working and the speakers are unplugged at the wall or an audio/HDMI cable is not connected to the laptop. 

    Just smile and say"I just know how to troubleshoot IT stuff. You're teaching 30 children here - I wouldn't last 2 minutes!"

    You have your skillset, they have theirs.

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  • Adam5796 wrote:

    It's not a game you can win.

    Yes, it actually is.  You have to know how to play it, though.

    ICH, Obstruktion, and I (among others) figured it out.  Speaking for at least myself, I have a very good relationship with our faculty and staff (it took years to get there, but we got there).  And what Obstruktion mentioned may be closer to the truth of the matter: it's not what you say but how you behave when you're not saying it.

    Teachers aren't as stupid as this thread is making them out to be.  They can read body language.  They can perceive nonverbal communication.  Treating them like they're morons, as we're doing here, is what carries forward silently when we're interacting with them.  After 18 years of working IT in public education, I have observed this in action numerous times.

    Some teachers will buck the system because they don't want to deal with their assigned tech.  Because he acts like a condescending ass, and that condescension precedes him like a wave when he enters a room or even a hallway.  I or another tech go in to solve an issue for the same teacher, and I get a hug or a high five.

    Yes, the problem may have been elementary.  Yes, they probably should have known better.  But embarrassing them in front of their students is not the way to get that message across.  Our responsibility is to present a unified team to the students.  Network cable loose?  They didn't check?  Fine. Maybe it's because as soon as the teacher tried to log in, 5 kids came up to him to simultaneously ask questions.  After the teacher just got a beat-down from a parent who whined about a disciplinary measure the teacher had to enforce because Taylor or Madysyn was caught plagiarizing a report.

    Maybe that teacher does know to check for a loose Ethernet cord, verified that it was tight, but then when Student #2 went back to his desk, his jacket brushed up against the Ethernet cord (which has its plastic retention clip broken off, by the way) and loosened it again.  Teacher didn't notice because Students 4 and 5 are still talking at the same time.  All the while Teacher has to keep one eye on the kid in the back corner who's hunched over and trying to hide something.

    It's not what we say (or don't say) but how.  It's us sincerely acting like we have their backs, and if you're losing this game, then that's a play that you're not making effectively.  Same for OP.  It's acknowledging and believing that we in K-12 IT exist to support the classroom.  It's understanding that a K-12 classroom is not like teaching a room full of adults at a conference or seminar.

    So in this situation, what I would do is this: "oh, the cable is loose."

    "I JUST checked that!"

    "It probably worked its way out again because this little clip is broken off.  Tell you what.  After your class is done, I'll come back and replace this plug so that it doesn't fall out again."

    A) I acknowledged the teacher's own effort (they may or may not be lying; but that's not my call to make at this moment).

    B) I blamed the equipment, not the teacher.

    C) I offered a more permanent fix while respecting the teacher's duties and schedule.

    This is how I've made friends with my teachers over 18 years.  Probably why our district is one of the few left in our area that hasn't outsourced internal IT support (it gets brought up every year, but our senior leaders and even faculty have our backs -- BECAUSE we built this mutual relationship with them).

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  • Every K-12 school is different. The environment is different right down to the mindset of the staff. I worked for 14 years in a career center (trade school). The mindset there was a business oriented. The students were learning a trade and there was quite a bit of need for issues to be resolved quickly. Sometimes, you would fix the issue and move on and then double back to talk with the teacher about the issue. Most of the time I would show the teacher what I did and they would catch on pretty quick how to take care of the issue.

    When I left there and moved to a traditional K-12 school, the environment was different and the mindset was way different. Teachers expected that any technology issues should be taken care of IT and they shouldn't have to deal with it. Most of our teachers are receptive to on the spot PD for technology issues. Also, most of the them love to see me. When I go see a teacher, I don't try to make them feel stupid and I try to bring things down onto a personal level. I try to carry on a conversation that is outside of technology and also try to get to know them a little bit personally.

    Any time you have an issue with teachers telling their administration that you make them feel dumb, it causes some friction with the IT and the staff. I had an issue with one teacher that would not call me at my previous job about issues because she was in trouble with the administration. She was trying to lock up a laptop cart and the latch and lock mechanism fell apart. She called another teacher who happened to be a shop teacher to fix it. He didn't fix it and made the problem worse. When I asked someone what happened they told me. I asked why they were called and not me. The shop teacher wasn't responsible for it. I left it at that and went about getting parts and pieces from our maintenance staff and fixed it so that it wouldn't happen again. A few weeks later the shop teacher confronts me in the hall and starts yelling and cussing me. I kept it quiet and on a professional level and then reported him to administration for it. He apologized later because he was made to, but it shows what can happen when teachers and IT can't work out their differences.

    As it's been previously stated here, if you do not out right blame the teacher, chances they won't feel like you are treating them as dumb. I would say also a vast majority of the teachers don't feel that way and it could be a handful that feel that way. I have found that when you have maybe three or four teachers that complain, the others are perfectly fine with how you are handling things. I think a lot of folks on here has given some good advice on how to handle yourself in a classroom setting with teachers. I have always felt that empowering the teachers to try and fix things on their own and then asking for help when they can figure it out is the best solution at times. I told a teacher the other day that kept apologizing for not being able to fix something that it was quite all right that they broke it. My job was to come look at it and then fix it for them and get them back up and running as quickly as possible. 

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  • Are teachers really any different than any other professional a lot of us work with?  We're not stereotyping are we?

    I'd like to contribute to this post with a short story.

    In my first home, it came with a rented water softener.  I paid the rental for a couple of years and realized it was really a rip off.  So, I buy a new one and called a plumber I'd known for a few years and had him come out, remove the old one, and install the new one.  I'm amazed at watching him.  Measures in a matter of seconds, Cuts pipe, solders this, solders that, and the whole project couldn't have taken him twenty minutes.  Happily paid him and he was on his way.  At no time did I feel stupid.

    Fast forward twenty years.  I'm in my 2nd home.  The wife wants a new faucet in the kitchen.  So, I give her some money and tell her to buy one.  She does and I figure I'll have my same plumber come out and install it sometime.  Well, she has a business meeting that Saturday and I think I'd like to surprise her and install it.  All day and three trips to Home Depot, it's finally installed and does not leak.  My plumber probably installs it in half an hour.  I felt a little stupid.

    Whenever somebody says something like they stated to your Dean, and trust me, it happens, I tell them this story.

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  • Perception is 40% of our job, having a positive perception is important. Something like this isn't repaired overnight. You have to build relationships with your teachers and and staff. Joking about the IT mojo is one thing that tends to help. The other is yes it takes me 2 minutes to fix an issue, because someone else had it before you and it took me ____ hours to fix it then, now I know how and can do it. 

    I fail like my teachers do at IT and basic tasks, during presentations etc, I try to model what I would expect from them. Sometimes I intentionally "break" my own presentations and then continue on without the powerpoint/slides/videos etc to MODEL good practice when technology fails. I also fail openly in front of them, a few years ago I tried converting everyone to Radius auth, that didn't go so well (the radius supplicant in windows 7 is garbage). 

    If you are perceived as an all knowing IT god (which who here isn't), then it is real easy for us to make people feel stupid when we quick fix everything. However ask us to teach a lesson on ________ (teachers subject field) and we will probably struggle. Having a human relationally connection helps your job and will adjust the perspective for these teachers. You'll find with the younger teachers that many of them are NOT tech savvy, they know HOW to do specific Programs and APPS on their devices, but general IT "jobs" like installing a browser or clearing their cookies, probably not happening. 

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  • Like all problems, you can't effectively address this one in an absence of data. What specific behaviors of yours are causing these feelings in the staff and faculty? A few things to consider:

    • Feelings are valid. By and large, humans run on teh feelz (sic). In fact, unless there's something clinically wrong with an individual, everyone experiences emotions. Thing with emotions? You don't get to control them. They just frickin' happen. Because we (as a species) are largely driven by emotion, ignoring an emotional reaction almost always causes more problems than it solves. 
    • Behaviors based on feelings are not always valid. Having said the above, we choose how to respond and are individually 100% responsible for our behavior in any given situation. It is our individual responsibility to check our emotional reactions and respond in a positive, constructive manner regardless of our initial emotional response. 
    • Stop expecting users to be IT professionals. Seriously. Common sense comes from common experience. The teachers here are paid to, y'know, teach. The OP, as the IT pro on staff, is paid to fix the technology. It's not about whether the teachers can fix the issues they're having. It's about whether they should. I'm willing to bet nearly every person reading this thread can offer at least one horror story of the problem user who tries to fix things without calling IT, and how frustrating that person is to deal with. We can't have it both ways, kids.
    • Stop pointing fingers. It's utterly impossible to control the feelings and reactions of others. Don't try. Saying things like, "The teachers are not capable of doing their jobs and need hand holding in embarrassing ways," may be a factual statement - but it won't help fix the perception among the faculty that the OP is a dick. Keep it up long enough and I feel confident in saying that it's the OP who will be out of a job - not the faculty making the complaints. 

      Instead, take the feedback from the Dean seriously, remove the plank from your eye before pointing out the specks in the eyes of others, and do what you can to improve your own behavior. Given that the OP readily admits his gut reaction to being told, "You make the staff feel stupid," is, "Because they are," tells me his behavior with the teachers isn't as neutral (or as positive) as he thinks it is. That kind of attitude leaks out in very small but very visible ways. People who are used to working from a place of empathy (y'know, like teachers) will pick up on those signals from across the room. 
    • Be understanding. Regardless of an individual user's comfort with technology, they called you for help. Many humans have a very hard time admitting they don't know something. Even if they possess enough self-awareness to know what they don't know, asking for help puts the one asking into a vulnerable position. If the person providing help is perceived as rude, condescending, or just an asshole, others will eventually stop asking for help. To quote Archer: Do you want Shadow IT? Because that's how you get Shadow IT.
    •  Be empathetic. Can you honestly say you'd make a career out of trying to teach of bunch of kids anything? Good God, man! I can't. Hell, I've taught college courses and adults, and still won't go into a classroom as an instructor if I can avoid it. (And I've been told time and again that I'm an excellent teacher.) Why? Because I flatly don't have the temperament to deal with all the baggage that 25+ students bring into the classroom each and every day (see above, re: humans are emotional creatures). Can you honestly say that you can pivot on a dime to completely retool your day's entire lesson plan because the classroom technology took a dump? Do you realize that sometimes that adjustment will impact the entire week? That's hard to do on the fly. Now imagine that you've just lost the attention of a bunch of fourth graders. Getting that back takes time.

      If the teachers in your school are mostly twenty-somethings, that means most of them are barely out of college. Hell, even a teacher with 5 years of experience has barely scratched the surface of what it truly means to teach!
     So, having said that:

    I think you should thank the Dean for the feedback and ask for specific examples of behaviors of yours that are causing discomfort among the faculty and staff. If none are provided, say something like, "I'm concerned that the faculty perceives me this way, but in the absence of specific examples I'm not sure what I can do differently. Do you have any suggestions?" 

    Edit: Minor grammatical fixes.
     
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  • Vladimir3464 wrote:

    Whatever our first thoughts, they are always the right ones, the ones you get on impulse. They are stupid. Its not the being ignorant about something, its the attitude, the not wanting to acknowledge the ignorance, the pretending they know what's going  on, scared of looking weak for not knowing - that's being stupid!

    Research repeatedly shows this is flatly not the case.* Our first thoughts are quite often wrong and are based almost entirely on our own experiences and biases. At best you have a 50/50 chance of your first impression being right. 

    The behaviors you describe more accurately reflect insecurity and fear, not stupidity (which is the lack of intelligence, which is the ability to reason and learn). 

    *A few words on the topic from a retired FBI profiler. I'll replace "dangerous people" with "manipulative people"; not all manipulators fit the criminal definition of "dangerous", but they can still make your life difficult (if not downright hellish). 
    http://maryellenotoole.com/2011/09/top-10-reasons-not-to-go-with-your-gut/
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  • Scott Alan Miller wrote:

    <<Stuff that may be factually accurate, but misses the point entirely.>>

    Here's the thing:

    One report of misbehavior is easily dismissed as an outlier. A nutjob, if you will, out in left field who may safely be ignored as an anomaly. After all, it's unrealistic to expect that everyone will like everyone all the time. However, when the reports of a given behavior are common and are coming from a large percentage of a given population, one ignores this data at one's peril. 

    The level of technical competency possessed by the teachers in this school as compared to the OP is completely irrelevant to the reports that the teachers feel the OP is, to paraphrase, a dick. At least, it's irrelevant at first. Once he and the Dean have agreed that the OP has, in fact, taken all possible steps to ensure he's addressing issues in a professional manner, only then can the conversation be turned to whether the faculty as a whole should undergo additional training for their classroom technology or discuss the specifics of Teacher A's attitude problem toward the OP. 

    Anything else will come across as churlish, childish, and an attempt to dodge responsibility. Y'know ... all the things the teachers in this story have been accused of doing. 
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  • Heh, I did not see too many that were actually smart in my experiences in school. Not that all teachers are stupid, just not technically inclined. Some of the smartest ones that I remember were the vocational instructors. 

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  • Scott Alan Miller wrote:

    My wife is laughing about how bad this problem is.  Here is how we distilled it...

    • The teachers are not capable of doing their jobs and need hand holding in embarrassing ways.
    • The teachers are not just technically inept, but also emotionally immature to a point that they need other people to pretend not to be competent at their own jobs in the hopes that it doesn't expose their own lack of skills and knowledge.
    • The teachers are not even capable of being good students, making them the least capable teachers.

    If the dean thinks the teachers are embarrassed now, wait until students figure out that they are crybabies that act like little kids and cry when actual children realize they are unable to do their jobs.

    Wait until the current college generation starts asking for "safe rooms" at work, for employees.
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  • This is a no win situation for you.  I took a physics class in college and made the mistake of correcting the professor when he gave bad information.  He was the head of the physics department so that did not work out well for me.  I had the high grade for all of his classes but he gave me a "B".  I never did that again.  Right or wrong, people will defend their ego to the maximum level.  In your case, they obviously feel compelled to alert your boss.  If you can somehow make them feel that the fix was their idea...

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  • I worked in the real world before I started at a school.

    for the non education IT spiceheads the way to imagine a school is a business where every office is a full meeting room.

    so in the same way that you attempt to quietly and politely solve the problem in a board meeting you attempt to quietly and politely solve problems in classrooms. 

    It is neither the time nor the place to give an in-depth explanation of why/how you are fixing things - you simply fix it and let them get on with their important stuff -you are interrupting.

    the difference is that in the board room when you fix the problem and leave it will probably be someone else who runs the next meeting in there - so a reoccurring problem is always something new to the user  - so when you duck in and fix it in seconds because you have seen it before you are the hero.
    With a classroom it will be the same person who experienced the problem last time - so you repeatedly fixing it in seconds stops you looking the hero and starts making you look smug - you can explain why in slowtime between lessons, but if they have not grasped it (and as I said above they have no responsibility to learn IT) then the next time you fix it you reinforce their sense of inferiority and appear more and more smug/patronising.
    Teachers are also trying to maintain an air of confidence in front of the class - this makes their ego's very delicate when they don't understand/can't do something - compounding the effects of the above.

    You have to broad shoulder it and move on - sometimes you will upset some of them, you  simply have to accept that.

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  • I find that cutting back on caffeine helps me to get along with teachers better. 

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  • Having worked in mainstream education, I can certainly relate. Unfortunately for you, a lot of the teachers you'll work with are stupid when it comes to IT. Unfortunately for them they work in an industry that is rapidly becoming more and more dominated by IT, on a bit of a lag compared the rest of the workplace, and have no experience of working with the systems you're completely familiar with because they've never needed to before. Every time I help someone I have to decide if it's an appropriate time to show them how to fix the problem so that they know for next time. This is down to your judgement and you may have to show them multiple times. I've found that fixing a problem in <5s is rarely the right choice and can lead to this feeling of looking stupid. What I've learned over time is that it's a win/win scenario to teach someone to fix their own problem than to constantly fix it for them, even if it is literally your job to fix it. Ultimately, the less time the teacher spends waiting for you to switch an input for a projector, the more time they can spend teaching and if you don't have to do it at all, the more time you can spend doing more interesting stuff.

    On the other hand, you'll always meet people who can't/won't be taught and there's very little you can do about them except be polite and helpful and then leave as quickly as you can because at the end of the day it is literally your job to fix the problem, even if that does mean switching on some speakers in front of a class of laughing teenagers!

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  • I'd like to compliment Obstruktion  and Vladimir3464 on excellent first posts.  The main thing I noticed in the original post was the attitude, "My first thought was because they are... but I kept that to myself and had to really to think about it. For the most part I get along with everyone and try harder to get along with the snobby Teachers."  You may be good at tech but you don't sound like you're very good at people.  People can sense that you're looking down on them and they are reacting.  These are also people who spend their days working with people and their people-reading skills are pretty honed.  Don't kid yourself that your superior intellect is tricking the stupid snobs.


    Like others have mentioned, the Dean has offered you an opportunity to improve your skills.  It's very natural to get defensive about a criticism, but if that's where you stop you're doing your employer and more importantly, yourself, a disservice.

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  • Age and attitude towards a situation can make a huge difference. When I worked as a help desk technician on a University campus, I found there was very little respect shown for IT. I remember specifically being cussed out one time by a teacher because her laptop hard drive failed. I was a student at the time and based on those interactions, I believe that a teacher develops a mindset in which they distinguish themselves separately from you. If you are younger than them, I believe they lose respect for any sort of knowledge you have over them. My significant other, who was teaching undergrad classes during her grad program, noticed the reverse interactions happening between students and teachers. If a teacher is closer to the same age as a student, they tend to lose respect for a teacher. 

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  • It is virtually impossible to control how casual users perceive you when they compare their IT "skill set" against someone whom has degrees, certifications and experience specifically in the IT field. What you can do is remember the you/we provide a service to an "internal customer" and keep all interactions cordial and professional. Avoid even sounding condescending. In some cases when it's appropriate, show them tricks (safe ones like Window +L) and "share the knowledge". Hopefully they will take away a positive feeling from the interaction. Perhaps an IT "tip of the day/week" email is appropriate?
    Have a great day,
    Austin
     
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  • I work for a K12 public school and I certainly know your pain.  It was brought up in my review a couple years ago that I was "talking down" to some of the teachers.  When I asked for clarification they said it was how I phrased things.  Since then I've been careful to avoid saying things like "it's simply", "all I did was", or "it was a basic fix."  While these statements may be true, I phrase them in ways that seem more involved. I'm not lying or sugar coating it, but it leaves you and the teacher both feeling better about the situation.  As far as how much time you spend fixing the issue, well, I'm not sure what to tell you.  You can't take longer than you need to as that just isn't honest or efficient.  I guess I'd spin it as you being very efficient.  You get paid to fix the computers just like the teachers are paid to be educators.  It would take you a lot longer to come up with a decent lesson plan than the teachers would.  They shouldn't be surprised when you are able to fix the computer quicker.

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  • I'm in the same proverbial boat as you my friend. I haven't been told by anyone higher up but some of the teachers have expressed that they feel silly when I can fix it by plugging it in. For the most part I try to laugh with them and reassure them that its not a big deal.

    The old adage I like to use is the story of a car that doesn't start.The owner tries everything in the book, replaces parts, diagnostic work, and tries for months before taking it to a shop. The mechanic turns one screw and everything works perfect and hands the owner the bill. The owner, feeling like he could have done that himself, refuses to pay. The mechanic explains that turning the screw would only cost him $1, but knowing which screw to turn would cost him the rest.

    The moral being you can't know everything, can't master everything, and shouldn't be expected to know or master everything. If it is not an area you are familiar with or wish to learn, then have no worries about asking someone who is in that area. My teachers may admit to feeling "stupid" but I don't point and laugh or call them stupid. I just laugh with them and not at them and for the most part, they laugh back.

    They pay me to make sure everything works. I'm not going to stop my job if someone else feels bad that I (having many years more experience then they do)  did it faster.

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